Being uncontrollable is a central concept to punk, a manifestation of the emotional rage of the genre and the message it carries. Iceage have always taken this to heart, and crafted a sound that speaks not to the animality within us, but rather the chaos that pervades the mind. They have been ‘id’, and so we have loved them precisely because of the lack of control. However, their last full-length, You’re Nothing, veered on the edge of disaster because of this. It managed to pull back just before the cliff, but it gave us a glimpse over the edge, as thrilling and terrifying as that was.
With Plowing Into The Field Of Love, the band’s third album, Iceage have control. That is not to say they are diminished. There has been no loss of emotional intent, no sacrifice in favour of commerciality. From the first bass notes that reverberate through the mind on opener ‘On My Fingers’, crying of “unrelated hell” and birds with “hostile wings” in that peculiar, rapturous voice, we have no fear of destructive change.
Rather, they have learned how to control their chaos in such a way as to give it focus, and thus power. Lead man Elias Bender Rønnenfelt has created an album distinct from their back catalogue: it is wordier, cleaner, cleverer. Iceage now understand their own sound, and no longer throw chords around with skill but no purpose.
This development comes to a head on ‘Forever’, where Rønnenfelt starts being “split in two” but creates an ocean that he would lose himself in, forever.
Such is the power and depth of their music that we would follow without a hesitation, bound up by loss of self, “caressed” into nothingness.
It is a strange truth that power can be gained through a certain focus exercising uncontrollability, rather than sheer chaos. Iceage are no longer young aspirants, but have instead entered the pantheon.